A pirogue is the only way to get around Tra Su nature reserve in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang when in flood
Tra Su cajuput forest has much to offer tourists and scientists.
Together with Sam and Cam mountains, and Tuc Dup Hill, the seasonally inundated cajuput forest of Tra Su is a well-known tourist spot in An Giang Province at the head of the Mekong Delta.
Tra Su is a wetland forest located 10 kilometers from the Cambodian border in Tinh Bien District’s Van Giao Commune.
At its center is an 845-hectare nature reserve full of rivers, canals, ponds and swamps.
The rich ecosystem supports 140 plant species, from paperbarks and aquatic plants to creepers and grass, providing timber, food, medicinal herbs and cajuput oil.
There are about 130 species of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and frogs.
Tourists like it for the pretty scenery and wildlife, while scientists from near and far are keen to go there for research.
The best time to visit Tra Su is at the height of the flood season, usually in September and October.
At this time of the year, the entire forest appears to be sinking in a vast sea, so a small boat known as a pirogue is the only way to travel around, both for visitors and locals.
Fishing is allowed, and the local inhabitants are keen to engage visitors in conversation and tell them about life in Tra Su.
In drier times, there are plenty of paths good enough for cycling through the forest.
Deep within, about half an hour by bicycle from the road, is a restaurant serving country fare like beef paste, stewed chicken and bamboo shoots, and grilled snakehead fish covered in mud.
There is also a rickety watchtower right in the middle of the nature reserve with a panoramic view of the wetlands and a clear line of sight to Sam Mountain.
To get there from Chau Doc Town near the border, take the road past Sam Mountain and Ba Chua Xu Temple to Bung Dien Bridge, then turn left to Tra Su. (Reported by Diem Thu)